Resilience is the mental, physical, emotional and behavioral ability to face and cope with adversity, adapt to change, recover, learn and grow from setbacks. A resilient individual is better able to leverage intellectual and emotional skills and behaviors that promote enhanced performance. Resilience and enhanced performance are closely related, and research indicates that individuals who demonstrate strong characteristics in one area are usually strong in the second area, too.
Depending on whose research you read, resilience is either a trait (something that is fairly stable over time and rather difficult to develop, similar to personality) or a state (something that one can develop). The belief is it is both. That is, some people are likely to be resilient due to their personality and up bringing, and others can become more resilient over time when they employ the skills we teach.
Resilience is conceived of as an individual’s ability to move through significant or chronic stress and display adaptive psychobiological allostasis – or maintaining stability through change. Resilience has also been conceptualized as the ability to maintain healthy functioning in the face of increasing stressors and demands, as well as the capacity to recover to full functioning following a period of intensive demands. It is not limited to self-regulation, but also is relevant to regulating the behavior of the team one is part of. One broader definition of personal resilience describes it as ‘the capacity to mobilise personal features that enable individuals, groups and communities (including controlled communities such as a workforce) to prevent, tolerate, overcome and be enhanced by adverse events and experiences’. Recent studies suggest that resilience – as individual characteristics or skills – could be cultivated or enhanced to confer protection from an overwhelming experience.
At its core, resilience training best succeeds by tapping into what many psychologists think of as the Holy Grail: metacognition, or getting people to think about their thinking, which is at the core of what this training enables. When we can encourage those to challenge how and why they think a certain way, then the skills we teach are more likely to take root.
The workforce is the centre of any organisation, and critical to its success. The benefits of engaging with a resilient workforce include the ability for the organisation to be flexible and adaptable, and respond rapidly to internal and external pressures, at the same time as reducing costs associated with stress.
A healthy and resilient organisation opens up the opportunity for the workforce to be resilient. This is because the characteristics of a healthy organisation are those that exhibit energy, enthusiasm, responsiveness and adaptability, none of which is possible without similar characteristics in individuals who work in the organisation. However, individuals will not be able to exhibit the enthusiasm and energy without the cultural context positively provoking such characteristics, encouraging them, and making the workforce feel this is expected from them.
A significant proportion of personal resilience is based on self-efficacy and self–esteem, both of which are attributes that are built up over time and reinforced on a regular basis. Their utility are culturally contingent, with a positive culture reinforcing self–efficacy and self-esteem, whilst a negative one doing the opposite, unless the aim of the individual is to change the negative culture.
Personal resilience is a process not a personality trait. It is a process to formulate an attitude towards events that may threaten survival – threaten personal success and happiness. An individual with an attitude that enables him or her manage their response to an event, without impacting on performance, demonstrates resilience.
Like any leadership development, learning resilience is a lifelong process: everyone can and will improve when they put in the work, while achieving clarity around their own individual why and purpose.
At the end of this session, Members will be able to: (not limited to)
- Identify 10 ways to build personal resilience, in the context of self first then others.
- Identify and leverage their own strengths and the strengths of others to overcome challenges and use their potential to accomplish the mission.
- Explain the interaction between stress and resilience, providing immediate self-awareness and tools to leverage stress.
- Enable members to keep things in the proper perspective, when facing crisis or conflict, identify the best, worst, and most likely scenarios; know what you can and cannot control; and prepare yourself to move past the event.
- Reframe the negative energy around them and recognize the outside influences affecting them and reframe them towards an advantage.
- Build strong relationships by strengthening and nurturing your social network.
- Understand that leaders make meaning for followers and recognise that in times of trouble, subordinates will look to the leader for guidance.
- Identify the most appropriate thinking style for cultivating resilience and peak performance consistently.